Domestic abuse can complicate the process of obtaining a divorce

Domestic violence is a major problem in Texas which often complicates divorce proceedings and makes child custody issues difficult to resolve.

News 4 in San Antonio recently reported that domestic violence is a serious local problem. Experts were quoted as saying that, unfortunately, San Antonio and Bexar County have one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country. The News 4 story also noted the grim statistic that 114 women were killed last year in Texas as a result of domestic violence. Of those killed, 68 were shot with a firearm. The National Coalition against Domestic Violence says that one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Although women are typically the victims of domestic abuse, in some instances men are the victims.

No one knows exactly how many divorces occur as a result of domestic violence. However, one study suggested that the number may be as high as 50 percent. A recent survey finds that the disturbing cycle of domestic violence that was documented among Baby Boomers and those of Generation X has not been contained. Instead, the disturbing pattern of domestic violence in the United States is continuing-unabated-with those of Generation Y. Not surprisingly, the Texas Attorney General advises that family violence remains as a very serious threat to society and its members.

According to an article on the Psych Central website, domestic violence often starts when one partner feels the need to control and exercise domination over the other. Abusers may turn to violence due to low self-esteem, jealously or anger management issues. A person may abuse a partner if he or she feels inferior to the partner in education or socio-economic background. Some may abuse a partner because they resent the partner's higher-paying job. Abuse can be physical, such as hitting, smacking or punching. In many instances, the abuse is best characterized as emotional abuse.

Protective orders

Because abusers are domineering, they can often make divorce and custody issues more difficult than they need be. The Texas Bar Association strongly advises that if you are considering a divorce, and are the victim of domestic violence, you need to contact an attorney instead of attempting to obtain a divorce on your own by acting pro se. An attorney can act quickly in filing for a protective order to prevent further abuse.

A protective order is a civil order issued by a court to prevent continuing acts of family violence as defined the Texas Family Law Code. An order can be obtained prohibiting the offender from performing additional acts of violence and harassing and threatening the victim. Protective orders are available in every county in Texas. Importantly, a person who has a divorce pending is eligible to file for a protective order. In the event that a divorce is pending, the protective order must be filed in the court in which the divorce is pending. If an offender violates the protective order, and law enforcement is notified, officials will act to arrest the offender and have charges filed.

Seeking help

If you are considering a divorce and are in an abusive relationship, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney experienced at handling Texas family law cases can advise you on what steps you can take in order to keep yourself, and your children, safe from an abuser. The attorney can also help prepare a strategy for dealing with child custody and property issues that could be complicated by an abuser. You do not need to deal with an abuser alone.

Keywords: domestic abuse, divorce, protective order,